by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
After much pain and consternation, the confrontation over a government shutdown is now over. Temporarily.
Yesterday, President Trump announced a deal that would reopen the government for three weeks, allow furloughed workers to be paid, and restore some of the not-so-non-essential personnel, like TSA workers, to real-time compensation status. By the end of the day, Congress passed a bill to implement the deal, and the wheels were set in motion for the restoration of a precarious state of normalcy within our federal government.
Most notably, of course, the deal did not include money for wall funding.
Yes, the President blinked yesterday. For all his bravado, for all his claims to never lose, for all his toughness and snide remarks on Twitter, the President capitulated yesterday, giving up — at least temporarily — one of the most powerful bargaining chips in his possession. Now, the real question is, what will the Democrats do?
Clearly, the Democrats’ position in the confrontation has been insupportable. According to them, the presence of a wall at key locations throughout our border is “immoral;” ICE needs to be defunded; and it is best for humanity if people are allowed to cross from one nation to the next without restriction and without accountability. For Democrats, the global human population represents a blob of amorphous protoplasm free to flow across the continents according to the relative attractiveness of the various milieus even if the end result is to destroy the new location where it chooses to reside.
Of course, the Democrats’ position is nonsensical. Yes, it represents emotion-laden fodder for its liberal wing, but it is irreconcilably incompatible with a nation’s continued existence. So now that the Democrats have moved from a position of being a relatively powerless minority in Congress to being in a position to grind the legislative wheels to a halt if it does not get its way. What will they do next?
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are childishly gloating over their ostensible defeat of the President. According to Schumer, he hopes this is a moment that has taught the President a lesson. But once the Speaker and he come down from their celebratory high, they will still be faced with the challenge of solving the issue of border security in the face of another round of largely ineligible asylum seekers making their way to the southern border.
The fact is that the plan the President proposed, the same plan the Democrats resoundingly rejected — one that allots $805 million for technology, canines, and personnel to help stop the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband; $675 million for drug-detection inspection technology to help secure our ports of entry; $130 million for canine units, training, personnel and portable scanners to help deter and detect smuggled narcotics, weapons, and other dangerous materials coming across the border; $800 million in humanitarian assistance, medical support, and new temporary housing for immigrants; $782 million to hire an additional 2,750 border agents, law enforcement officers, and staff for added border security; $563 million to support our immigration court system including hiring 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the immigration court backlog of 800,000 cases; enhancement of the nation’s visa monitoring and enforcement assets; and some form of residency provision for DACA recipients that does not include a path to citizenship — is pretty close to the final answer.
And of course, the President is right, regardless of the other components: Any final product must include the erection of walls spanning critical junctures of America’s southern border.
One thing that has materialized from the last few months of zealous discussion is the materialization of a permanent solution to border security. That path is now well defined. The real question is whether the Democrats can stomach going back on their false assertions and support the same components they so recently and hypocritically dismissed.
Personally, I think they can’t.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and served in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.
(The Author acknowledges the work of David Kopel and Vincent Harinam, cited below, on which the Author relied heavily.)
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